[Sca-cooks] Cooking for Power

Kingstaste kingstaste at comcast.net
Tue Nov 25 09:14:12 PST 2008

It is cooking related and something that would probably be
happily discussed in a group of historicaly minded cooks in
my living room.
It is allowable.
List Admin

Spoken like a true King.  
Your Majesty Gunthar, as the foodie that you are, have you appointed a Royal
Chef?  Royal Food Taster?  B&V? Any sort of culinary position within your

I've been collecting Cook's biographical blurbs from various sources for a
while, I have a few that are specific to cooking for Kings and other
powerful people. 

Guillaume Tirel, 'TAILLEVENT' (d c 1395) is the only mediaeval cook 
about whose life anything is known. In 1326 he was a kitchen boy in 
one of the French royal households. Twenty-five years later, records 
show him to have been, successively, in the service of Philip VI and 
the Dauphin, who, in 1364, became Charles V. Still serving the same 
master, Taillevent was described in 1373 as 'premier queu du roi' - 
chief cook. He was still alive in 1392, when his name figures on a 
list of royal chefs who had received new knives. He was also granted 
arms: on his tombstone, he is portrayed wearing armour and carrying a 
shield decorated with three marmites.
Guillaume Tirel, known as Taillevent (1310-1395)
Wrote first professional cookery book in France. It was commissioned by
Charles V.  The full title in English is: "Hereafter follows the Viandier
describing the preparation of all manner of foods, as cooked by Taillevent,
the cook of our noble king, and also the dressing and preparation of boiled
meat, roasts, sea and freshwater fish, sauces, spices, and other suitable
and necessary things as described hereafter."

Le Viandier, the cookery book that bears Taillevent's name, survives 
in one manuscript that dates from before 1392, says Barbara Ketcham 
Wheaton in Savouring the Past; so it's possible that he actually did 
have something to do with it. Mrs. Wheaton points out that two texts 
from very early in the century (certainly predating Taillevent's 
birth), contain the 'core' of the recipes in Le Viandier, but 
adds, 'it would be inappropriate to reproach the historical 
Taillevent with plagiaarism... Most cooks were illiterate, holding 
their knowledge in their heads, hands and palates. When the rare 
literate cook wrote down - or the illiterate cook dictated - what he 
knew, he drew on traditional knowledge.'

François Pierre de la Varenne (1618 – Dijon 1678), Burgundian by birth, was
the author of Le cuisinier françois (1651), the founding text of modern
French cuisine.
It is said that La Varenne's first training was in the kitchens of Marie de
Medici. At the time his books were published, La Varenne had ten years'
experience as chef de cuisine to Nicolas Chalon du Blé, Marquis of Uxelles
(marquis d'Uxelles in French), to whom he dedicated his publications and
whom he immortalized in duxelles, finely-minced mushrooms seasoned with
herbs and shallots, which is still a favourite flavouring for fish and
vegetables. The Marquis of Uxelles was the royal governor of
Chalon-sur-Saône, thought by some to be the birthplace of La Varenne.

Marcel Dunan(d) – The gifted and imaginative Chef de Cuisine at the
Tuileries.  Also a man whose culinary talents often brought him into
conflict with his employer, Napoleon.  

Henri Charpentier (1880-?) - Henri Charpentier was a French chef who became
John D. Rockefeller's chef in the U.S. He undoubtedly popularized the
flaming dessert 'crepes Suzette' in America.  Some sources, probably
erroneously, attribute the actual creation of the dish to him either at the
Cafe de Paris in Monte Carlo or at La Maison Francaise in Rockefeller

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